Sunday, October 13, 2013

Round Two

So where am I now on this journey towards love? I admit my last post was a story about drama that occurred nearly a month before. Rest assured, my month of September wasn't boring: Android and Heli both went to bat, stating their clear intentions. We went on amazing dates. I received beautiful flowers. I honestly thought either of these guys could be my guy, but I hesitated: Android was so insecure and Heli's personality bored me. (Do I sound as horrible as I think I do?) In the end, I had to let them both slip back into the sea.

This was difficult as I truly liked both of them--but in liking them, I realized I had more of a friendly feeling than a "loverly" feeling. I had to be fair to all involved. (NorCal ladies, I know two great guys, if you need recommendations--though Android needs a little time, I think.)

Tangentially, I have to say it's incredible to me how men--not just women!--romanticize love. Android is a good example of this--perhaps because he had been so hurt by his ex-wife. He loves chick-flicks (in addition to his dude movies) and the idea of this all-incompassing, "rescue-y" type love. Barf.

So where do I go from here? I've totally revamped my online profile (which went live yesterday). Instead of having a short, light and fluffy profile (which encouraged the "hey baby" type guys), I've decided to speak to my audience. Almost as soon as the profile was live, I received two thoughtful messages in my inbox--this after weeks of radio silence (but then, I wasn't giving my profile any love). I'm back in the game.

This time, I'm setting a higher bar for my dates. Don't get me wrong, I learned plenty in my last go-around: I practiced setting boundaries and speaking honestly and kindly. I allowed men to be men--opening doors, buying me gifts, paying for dates--and practiced my own femininity--graciously receiving. I didn't meet my "true love," but it was awesome.

So it appears I have two quarter men: Bill Draper and Guy (more clever name to be determined).

No expectations, kids.

Monday, September 23, 2013

V Day

I've written about BBQ before. He's the only man I've met in person during my Dating Scheme 2013--the rest are online catches.

Quick recap:
1. We met at a BBQ (hence the name--I called him Wino before, because he's in the industry, but decided that wasn't too flattering)
2. First date: his favorite restaurant in Napa where we had a nice time. No sparks but I'm willing to be surprised, right?
3. Second date: hike and dinner at a country club. Said hike lasted all of 30 minutes; BBQ was huffing and puffing so hard I thought he might have a cardiac event. He claimed several times he would be "so sore" the next day. I was completely incredulous and really had to work at it not to laugh! (Shame on me, but I come from a family of hardier stock where the men are always challenging each other to mock feats of strength and endurance.)
4. Third date: a walk along the river and dinner at a Mexican restaurant. And this is the setting for the tale I want to tell.

In between these dates there were a flurry of emails. The first came on the day I met BBQ--it was a long missive. He was so excited to have met me his hopefulness practically effervesced from the page. (I don't mean to mock him--how wonderful to be so optimistic upon meeting that he's already built up a grand idea of who I am! Wonderful for him--not so much for me.) After the first date, where I told him lightly that I had been engaged last year and was taking things slowing, dating other men, he sent me an email begging me to give the relationship a chance.

Now, I don't think you can (or should) hinge a person's intentions on one word, but through our interactions it became increasingly clear that he was vividly imagining a relationship with me. Whoa boy!

Why didn't I just say, "Hey, we're not on the same page and you can't even hike a semi-hilly terrain for 30 minutes. Adios!"? Because I need to date all sorts of people (I guess)--"my type" keeps turning out to be not my type. I keep feeling like the cruel, careless guy in these interactions. (Why? because I'm simply not in love.) Maybe, I think, if I just hang in there long enough … Maybe if I agree to go on dates with guys I normally wouldn't go out with I'll be surprised. (Spoiler alert: I haven't been surprised. But neither am I jaded. Promise.)

Anyway, one of the email interactions addressed kiddos. BBQ has one wee lad and no interest in any more. "And he doesn't need a mom; he already has one," he said. No problem here. I am 95% sure I don't want kids--that 5% is reserved for the off chance that I meet a guy who sweeps me off my feet and wants kids really badly. (And because he's so great and gives me time to myself and doesn't expect me to be something/someone I'm not, I agree to have kiddos and thus lose my free time but it doesn't matter--not in this pretend scenario.)

So BBQ and I are sitting at a table overlooking the river and I order these perfectly awful fish tacos. I ask him what he's doing for the long weekend. "Oh, probably just hanging around the house. There's a golf game I want to catch." This seems a little strange, but it also seems as though BBQ doesn't have a friend group. Then he continues, "I'm, um, having a procedure tomorrow and will need to lay low." Ah, I say. I know immediately that he's having a vasectomy, and I don't want to talk about it so try other lines of conversation.

Somehow, despite my best efforts, it comes out anyway: "I'm having a vasectomy."

"Good for you," I say, wishing I'd ordered a margarita instead of a beer.

He doesn't leave it at that, though. He describes how he's stocked up on bourbon and made sure he has spare icepacks in the freezer. "And," he says meaningfully (was that a wiggle of the eyebrows?!), "it'll take two month for everything to test, you know, clear." He makes a swishing motion with his hand. Christ.

First of all, I know this. I had a boyfriend with a vasectomy once upon a time. Secondly, though of stalwart medical background, I just don't want to talk about sperm over terrible fish tacos. Most pointedly, his sperm. Not a good sign.

In all seriousness, I realized that this was the kind of conversation that would be welcomed (and necessary) in a relationship-type situation. I wasn't there; evidently he was. The next day, post-surgery, he updated me with his status: "Ice pack and bourbon." And the day after that, he extended that invitation of joining him in his living room on a beautiful Saturday to watch TV: "I'll be on the couch with my ice pack." OMG. I said thank you, no, I was going to San Francisco for the day.

Fast forward to now: we've parted amicably. I think we're on good, friendly terms--I was honest without being cruel. Connections are important to keep in this too-small valley, after all.

Monday, September 9, 2013

On Dating: Why the Hell I'm Doing It This Way

If you think I'm crazy for dating a bunch of guys at once, telling them all that they're not the only iron in the fire, you're not the only one. It's true, there have been some doozies (some I haven't written about) but it's also true that I've been deliciously surprised--which I also haven't written about. Yet. So while this plan may not work for everyone, let me assure you: it's working for me.

See, I believe I've had the wrong assumptions all these years. I think I've been scared and knee-jerky (both in ditching men and in getting too seriously involved too soon). There's nothing like dating a whole handful at once to slow things the heck down!

I have no expectations, and it's wonderfully freeing. I take that back--I only expect to be treated respectfully and honestly. Outside of that, bring it on!

I'm currently dating two guys who are amazing--they've completely surprised me with how genuine, interesting, lovely, masculine they are. Did they perk my ears right away? No. But over time (two months for one, about one month for the other), I've started to really like them--even become attracted to them. The guys? Heli and Android.

What happened to TallGuy and Sailor? About 3 weeks ago on the day before our anticipated second date, TallGuy texted me to apologize and say he just wasn't ready to date. Disappointing, yes, but it is what it is and I only had a small pout. Sailor contacted me similarly the day before a very, very, very much anticipated date (sailing on the bay, dinner, the whole deal) to say he just was too busy to go out. It's true that he was picking up and moving household, so I do completely buy it--but I also believed (and time has proven) that he just wasn't keen on seeing me. This was really, really disappointing.

But if there is one thing I've learned it's that you can't make someone feel what they don't. It could just be a factor of time (not enough of it, different head spaces, whathaveyou), but the best thing to do is give yourself a shake (and if the disappointment is great, treat yourself to something nice--I took myself on a little weekend getaway) and move on.

And I have moved on. Heli and I are seeing each other a couple of times a week, and I've grown incredibly attracted to him. I see Android about once a week and like him more each time I see him.

So what's my deal? Is this some sort of polyamorous thing I've got going on here? Not at all. I'm just not in the place where I can dive right into an exclusive relationship. These guys know it. If they aren't OK with it, they can move on, but for now, I'm really enjoying getting to know them, and I believe it's entirely possible that I could fall in love with either of them.

That said, I'm still online and still willing to meet someone else.

Tonight my manicurist said that I should just have fun and not worry about finding The One. When it's right, I'll know it, and I won't have to force it. I agree.

Next time: A date shares with me (over a taco dinner) that he's getting a vasectomy the next day. (Honest to God.) Stay tuned.

Thursday, August 8, 2013

Worst Date--To Date

It's been a long time since I've had a truly bad date, but oh boy I had one Tuesday night. I liked that Realtor is outgoing and confident, and after our first date, I was looking to see if he would be less likely to talk about himself the whole time (and glaze over after the rare question directed at myself)--hey, it could have been first date nerves! He was also really great about driving from his city, about 45 minutes away, to see me.

I didn't like that he texted me way too much. What is this about some guys? You go on one date, and they think you're in a relationship or something and text every 2 - 3 hours! If you haven't bothered to find out anything about me on a date, chances are I'm not going to want to get into a texting fest.

Well, the date started on an odd foot because he was decidedly cool. Oh, and he wouldn't look at me! (I'd noticed this on our first date--so let's strike that bit about confidence.) It is so disconcerting when someone looks everywhere else but at you! It turns out that he cool demeanor was because I didn't call him back. He'd phoned Saturday evening (!) and pardon me, but I had plans. And, it's true, I forgot about calling back Sunday--partly because that was also a full day. But I did text on Monday--at work, when I couldn't have called anyway. I realize I'm at a bit of fault here, but Realtor talks so damn much (and I am not fond of the phone as it is) that I couldn't bear the thought of calling.

And then he started in on the previous weekend, how I didn't so much as text him. When I protested, saying I'd been out of town, he said, "Girl, I'm just messing with you!" {pause} "But I don't know … it says a lot about what you want."

I turned to him and said, "Realtor! My aunt died, and I was with family at a memorial service. I didn't text anyone that weekend."

He blinked at me, uttered not one word of apology or condolence, and changed the subject. (Granted, I gave him way more explanation than he deserved.)

The whole evening went like this, but it just got worse and worse. Realtor went on and on about his supposed self-actualization and how he knew so much more now than he did in his 20s. (Um, true for us all, thank god!) And any time I tried to ask him anything real about himself or to share something of my own self, he rolled right on.

He brought up the idea of another date--was I free this coming weekend? No, as it happens. He got peeved. I said I was working and had family in town (again, I didn't need to explain this). This wasn't good enough for him! He was seriously annoyed. (Typing this all out now I can so clearly see that this guy isn't only a jerk, he's manipulative--possibly dangerous. At the very least, narcissistic.) I said the following weekend was a possibility--what worked for him? (I was noncommittal in this.) He wouldn't name a date. "A girl likes to be asked out," I said. And he said, "Sometimes a guy likes a girl to take charge." I couldn't articulate it, but I wanted to say that he wasn't making a good case for another date.

My irritation was at a slow burn, what stoked the fire further was when he declared that I was probably sexually repressed. I should have gotten right up out of that chair and left, but I was so shocked that all I could do was say, "Excuse me?! You don't know me." And he played the "messing with you" card again and tried to salvage the situation by saying I was probably a "wildcat" and deftly changing the subject.

I'm really distilling all this stuff down because why else would I have ordered cappuccino at the end of the meal? (why would I have stayed for the meal?) There must have been good stuff in there--or he must have been very adept at "handling" a normally gentle soul like me. I regretted that cappuccino almost immediately.

He asked a rare question: "So, Ruby, do you watch sports?" We'd been over this on our first date, but I decided to take the opportunity to speak. "Not really," I said, "but I watch the important games. Sometimes." Silence.

Realtor was a touch incredulous. "What are you into then?"

I looked at him and enunciated the hell out of "Literature." I meant literature in the broad sense--the study and criticism of it; the reading and writing of it.

Silence. Then, "Yeah, I read all sorts of books! Just look at my Amazon wish list." Christ almighty, he'd whipped out his phone and was scrolling through his wish list. I dashed off to the ladies' room, wishing, once I got there, that I hadn't left my purse and keys on the table. For the first time in my life, I wanted to skip out on a date.

When I got back, the bill was on the table. Realtor (Mercedes driving Realtor) was ignoring it and droning on and on about some pop psychology something or other. I interjected and said it was late and needed to get home. He barely acknowledged this before continuing on, detailing how amazing he was. I zoned out and contemplated whether I wanted to split the bill or try to get the jerk to pay. The waitress was nowhere to be found, so finally I, who had seriously had it, snatched the bill to go find her. (First time in my life I have ever done this.) "Girl, what's the rush?" followed me deeper into the restaurant.

And when I returned, did Realtor ask me if I was OK? Did he ask anything at all? No, of course not. The monologue freakin' picked up where it left off.

Unfortunately, he had to walk me to the car, since he was parked right next to me. And goddamit if he didn't plant not one but two kisses on my lips! I was rigid with dislike.

So, lessons:
1. I have got to get better about cutting bad dates short. I was just so incredulous! It's taken me two days to absorb/process all of this.
2. There is no need to explain myself to men who do not deserve explanations.
3. Repeat 1 and 2

He texted me after midnight following the date saying he had a great time (etc.) and then again this morning, saying he hadn't heard from me. So this afternoon I sent him a message on Match to let him know, very respectfully, that I appreciated the effort he took to meet me but that I didn't feel we were a match. I wished him luck. His response? "Wow ….." Really? He thought I had a good time on the date?


Sunday, August 4, 2013

Will It Lead to Disaster?

The names have shuffled around a bit, but I still have five guys in rotation. And, triumph of triumph: I picked up a guy in real life tonight! (Or, rather, he asked me out--I didn't hit on him or anything.)

"Drew" predicted in my previous post that this will end in disaster. It's possible, but I'm fully prepared for this possibility. Really, what could be more disastrous that my love life to date? Years of honing in on one guy, only to either (a) discover he wasn't into me or (b) break his heart ruthlessly. All of these previous relationships (of which there have been way too many) would have benefitted from slowing down, and that's what The Four Man Plan (4MP) affords me.

Heli and Realtor are still in play, and I'm seeing both this week. I still feel like they contact me too much. Why does this bother me so much? I've thought about it, and I think their constant attention reminds me too much of my ex, Mac, who had no life outside of me. That just scares me. I don't want to be anyone's Everything--at the same time, I recognize that if you meet someone cool, you're entitled to be excited about him/her. (And from my conversations with Heli and Realtor, they're not really seeing anyone else at the moment.)

Android is new to the plan. We're meeting Thursday. We've emailed a bit and he seems nice, smart and whatnot, but you really can't tell until you meet someone, can you?

This afternoon, at a BBQ, I met Wino. (So named because of the industry he works in, not because of drunkeness.) Before 4MP, I wouldn't have given him much thought. He's not attractive in the standard sense. And, on a superficial level, I'm a "hand girl"--I love manly hands on a guy. Wino has smaller hands--the hands of a surgeon, in the best light. But he is intelligent and a good conversationalist, and enjoys food and wine like I do. And, for Pete's sake, he asked me out. Note to the very few men reading this: ask a girl out. Chivalry ain't dead, yo. I'm looking forward to getting to know him.

So Thursday was The Sailor Date. Quick recap: I'd been looking forward to meeting Sailor through the month of July. We'd started communicating right as he was shipping off for the month. Through the month, we emailed and texted (occasionally). He wrote the best emails; I tried not to get carried away.

On Thursday, I drove over to his house--not something I would have done if I hadn't met him through mutual friends 10 years ago--and off we went on our evening: sushi, then darts and billiards. We laughed the whole time. In fact, a friend of mine who was sitting on the other side of the sushi bar (and who I didn't see at all) texted me later to say, "Give me your mom's number. I'll tell her you're not gay! Ruby, I've never seen you so into someone!" (See, there was a bit of a misunderstanding with my mom …)

I won't give you a play-by-play, but high points were: definite chemistry and some nice physical contact (no kissing--that's not necessarily on the table for me for a first date--more on this in another post). We both sucked at darts and billiards--to our great amusement. And after it all, I was sad. Sad to the ends of my toes. It carried into Friday, and I only felt better Saturday morning after a good night's sleep.

Why was I sad? Because it seems like almost ever time I have a good first date (or what I think is a good date), that ends up being the end of it. And because that kind of connection with a person reminds me how alone I am. I don't notice it in my day-to-day life. I'm a bit of a recluse, enjoying my reading and writing and bumbling around my condo on my own quite fine. But there's nothing like truly connecting with someone to make one think, "Oh, right. I'm missing out on something vital."

On Friday I sent Sailor a text (per 4MP) to thank him for the fun evening. And he responded saying he had fun, too, and that we both clearly needed practice at billiards and darts. That was that, and I thought to myself, "Self? I bet he's reading some manual for Man Dating. I bet I don't hear from him until Sunday evening." (Sailor is fairly recently divorced and has two kiddos. He's literally been off the market since age 23 or so. He has no clue about dating.)

Well, it's Sunday evening, and what do I get? A text from Sailor, which makes me very happy, of course. He wanted to get together for something quick and easy this week (minds out of the gutter: a walk!). But I literally have every night filled this week: gym, date, girl friend date, date, date. (Kill me now.) So we're getting together Saturday evening. Of course, I think it definitely doesn't hurt to put off a guy a little … never mind that I could happily jump him this second.

By the way, Sailor is two inches shorter than me. And two years younger than me. I don't care a bit. ;)

If I'm so into Sailor, why am I dating these other dudes? Because there are some key things I don't know about Sailor yet. Can I really handle his work schedule? (in port one month, out the next) Can I handle his fatherhood? (admirable, but do I really understand what it means?) Are we at the same maturity level? All these things will take some time to discover. And who knows, one of these other men could be the Dark Horse.

Or maybe it will end in disaster. Stay tuned. ;)

Sunday, July 21, 2013

The Man Corral

This Four Man Plan (4MP) is working perfectly. Right now I have five men (count 'em) in rotation. This is definitely a first for me--and it's purely for lack of trying earlier.

Some key points:
- None of these men have swept me off my feet
- I've made it clear to three of them that I'm seeing other men (TallGuy and Sailor being the exceptions); interesting that the ones who know I'm dating others are the most attentive!
- There is no stress here whatsoever - a surprise to me, who always thought that dating multiples would be stressful. Not so.

You may be wondering why I'm seeing these men if I'm not crazy about them. My thought is, why not? 4MP is a bootcamp for those of us who suck at dating--and I'll admit it: I suck at dating. I have broken hearts and have had my heart broken for years, pouring myself (hopes, dreams) into a single man who, if I'm honest with myself, I really just wanted to make out with (or sleep with). Far better to get it on than to imagine I'm in love--and imagine that he's a person entirely different than he is.

Dating these five guys (and I'm seeking more candidates--am I crazy?) is a great way to observe the male creature. It's a great way to get in touch with myself and to understand (learn) what I need in a relationship. Plus, these men (for the most part) are really stepping up to the plate. I've never been romanced before! (Could it have been that I set the threshold for sex far too low?) I cannot recommend 4MP enough.

So here's who I've got:

TallGuy - Hunky, but not in the game--he canceled our second date and hasn't rescheduled. He's off the graph in a couple of days, if I don't hear from him. (And, yes, I did pursue a second date with him--but according to The Plan, it's not for me to bug him any more. And actually, I don't mind--plenty of other men to do. I mean see. ;) ) I didn't let him know I'm seeing other men on the first date--a mistake, I think, and one that I have not repeated on dates with other men.

Mr. No-Car Bartender - I wish this guy would disappear! But fortunately, he has gone back to his evening bar tending job and I'm going out of town for a bit. I'll see him in two weeks, at the soonest.

Sailor - Our first date is August 1, and in the meantime, great emails and texts flit back and forth. I'm trying not to get my hopes up too much about this one, because as we all know, great email does not equal great chemistry in person.

Heli - We had our first date on Tuesday. I could tell by his face that he was surprised I'm so tall (didn't he read my very brief profile?). I thought we were just meeting for a drink, but he earned major points by making dinner reservations. Love it when a man takes initiative! (so rare, in my world) We have a second date this afternoon--and again he took initiative in choosing the restaurant and making reservations.

Realtor - I met Realtor on Wednesday. Yes, two first dates in a row. I don't recommend it. He drove all the way in from Oakland, too--very nice, but I don't like that it means we have to invest a chunk of time each time we see each other. Dating local is great because you can just pop out for a drink--given an hour's drive, you feel like you have to invest more time. Anyway, Realtor is smart, funny, masculine. Where I'm the reserved Northern Euro type (thanks to my upbringing, more than my actual heritage), he's boisterous and bigger than life. I'm not sure I could deal with that over the long haul. BUT, what I loved was that he was SO appreciative of my looks. "If I'd known you were so fine, I'd have driven up on Monday!"

Heli and Realtor are big on calling, and I'm not so much a phone person, though I realize it's important. Heli also texts WAY too much. Every day? We've just gone out once, buddy. I half wish I hadn't made plans with him this afternoon, but he's headed out of town soon (as am I), and the second date is more important than the first one, I believe. First dates are almost always a bundle of nerves and people are hardly ever representative of who they are.

Anyway, I'm having fun. I'm keeping an eye out for love, of course, but right now it's more about just meeting guys and appreciating them as they are with no expectations. Not a bad way to go.

Sunday, July 7, 2013

TallGuy, Mr. Bartender and Now, Sailor

Adventures with The Four Man Plan continue, and I have to say, the method is great for someone like me--someone who puts eggs in all one basket way too easily, who can fall in love with an idea more easily than an actual man. I need to invest more time in Match and OKC, though, picking up more contacts (i.e. quarter men).

Here's the lay of the land:

I met Mr. Bartender at the billiards club last Saturday and had a beer and a half. Somewhere mid-way through our conversation, I said, "So, tell me about your car situation." And Mr. B basically said that cars are too expensive and he can just borrow his roommate's. Now, his roommate (his best friend) is married--so Mr. B is living with a young married couple and … I cannot imagine how annoying that must be, especially for the wife. He said he didn't have any DUIs, and I believe him, but it's just odd. Yes, cars are expensive, but if you're going to live outside a city, that's just the cost of getting around and having a life.

At the end of our date, he made a play for my next Saturday night (which would have been last night). Part of the 4MP is that you say yes to every invitation, but I didn't like my Saturday night being spoken for so far in advance! Yes, if I were interested in Mr. B, I would have been elated. I made some noises like, "Oh, that sounds fun. Sure, touch base with me mid-week." And I didn't hear from him all week, thank God. Yesterday (Saturday) he texted me to let me know that he'd been hired back at his old job--a restaurant that turns into a dance club Friday and Saturday nights. Did I want to come down?

No, no I didn't. Honestly, the restaurant is weird and Mr. B is the only bartender so I'd only be able to wave at him. He followed up with an invitation for me to come down earlier, he'd buy me a drink. I didn't respond--which will probably give me a dollop of bad dating karma.

But it really can't be worse, karma-wise, than what I've been experiencing recently anyway. A guy with no car, a super hot man who never followed up … That's right, no word from TallGuy. Par for the course. The disappointment is only glancing. He was, yes, hot--and I wanted to jump him. (was hoping for the opportunity, in fact--and I am rarely inspired to do so) But I don't think we had a good connection--not on the first date, anyway, which is why I wanted to try for a second. (That and the chance to at least make out, for pete's sake.)

Part of the reason I wasn't crushed with disappointment, however, was that I heard from Sailor: great email, nice profile, and after a few exchanges we realized that we had mutual friends and had met some 10 years ago! What a freakin' small world. He immediately gave me his number so we could text. Now, normally I don't text guys I don't know, but I made an exception with Sailor, and we've been texting off and on over the last few days. (This in addition to email.) It turns out that we even live in the same neighborhood. Crazy!

Now, examining my heart of hearts, I don't know that it will go anywhere with Sailor. I think we might be enjoying the slight familiarity. I don't know how recently he is out of his divorce … it might be easier for him to communicate when he's way out on the ocean. Who knows? I'm hoping for at least friendship, because he does seem like a cool guy. (I remember him that way--also somewhat taciturn with wild hair.)

This afternoon, I've got to drum up some more quarter men! It's the name of the game, ladies.

Saturday, June 29, 2013

Survival of the Fittest

First the great news: I snapped a pair on and contacted TG on Wednesday, one week from our first date--as The Four Man Plan (4MP) stipulates. I was so nervous, but realized that waiting a week was a great idea: enough time had passed that I was perfectly fine with whatever the outcome. One week is enough time to not appear desperate but to still seem interested. Nice.

So I texted TG asking whether he wanted to meet up again. An hour passed, and I started brainstorming gracious replies to what would likely be a "thanks but no thanks" response. Then, a half hour later I got an enthusiastic reply: he would love to meet again but is really busy through Monday. He'd contact me at the beginning of next week--Monday! And then he sent a pic …

He wasn't wearing a shirt. Nice! Even nicer, he took it at an angle that made him appear … well, larger than he is. And I like that because 1) he wasn't posing all beefcake like and 2) it makes him human. I responded very casually with a "Sounds good!" and then a pic of my own: me in my office, wearing glasses, looking (I hope) like a sly, sexy librarian. It was supposed to be funny, but he doesn't know me, so who knows if it translates.

But the pressure is off. He'll contact me Monday and we'll have our second date. Who knows?

I contacted Mr. Bartender, who has no car and now, as it happens, no job (UGH), on Thursday--again, for that required second date. Because of his job/car situation, I feel like I've accidentally fallen into the role of instigator, which I really don't want to do. I suggested we go to a local brewery … but then, realizing that I had taken the lead, backed off. Mr. B asked if he could call me that night and I said sure, thought I would be out with a friend.

The whole thing irritated me--just call, don't ask! I feel like I keep making excuses--though I was relieved to have them.

Part of it is I don't know Mr. B well. He's virtually ungoogleable, whereas TG's family business is prominent. I feel far more cautious with Mr. B.

Well, we have a date this afternoon at a billiards club. At least it'll be in the A/C. He wanted to meet this evening, but I said I had plans. I don't. I just don't want to be out with this guy at night just yet.

Obviously, I'm not attracted to Mr. B much, so why I am I doing this? To keep my options open. To keep from obsessing about TG. To learn to be open to men and to learn from them.

It's a tall order for me. I hope the exercise is worth it.

But Mr. B? You need to start stepping up with making plans. And note to self: no more taking the lead!

Saturday, June 22, 2013

Mr. Bartender

I haven't heard from TallGuy since Wednesday. I'm a bit bummed about that, but taking it in stride. Per the Four Man Plan (4MP), I am cultivating my other quarters--all one of them. (I had another who turned out to be a weirdo, so he's off the plan.) Why not contact TallGuy now myself? Well, the idea of the 4MP isn't so much a Rules-based You Must Be Pursued thing as it teaches those of us who suck at dating how to not obsess about one dude. As such, I won't contact TallGuy (unless I hear from him) for another week and a half few days. That's right: the Plan stipulates that if the guy doesn't call you for a second date, you must call him at two weeks one week (ed note: I had that wrong, thank god!)--even if you don't want to go out with him. (Unless you get a seriously icky vibe from him, of course.) The idea again is to help you be light and free, non-obsessive--all that good stuff.

The old Ruby would be obsessed with TallGuy right now. And the truth is, I've had some trouble keeping my balance. But thanks to 4MP, I went out with my quarter, Mr. Bartender, for lunch today and actually had a really nice time. I was relaxed and felt no pressure and easily told him about where I am currently in the dating world: getting to know a lot of different people. (The 4MP calls this halving a man.) He was totally cool with it, and even asked me out next weekend.

So I hope TallGuy contacts me again, if only so I can show how cool and calm I can be--and so I can halve him.

But if not, so be it. I'll reach out to him the first week in July, and if that doesn't pan out, there are more fish in the sea. Hopefully tall ones. ;)

It's Pride week in N____ right now, and I'm going to an LGBTQ dance tonight with my friend and her partner. Hoping there will be some fun, straight guys I can get to know there!

Wednesday, June 19, 2013

Keep Your Cool

*fans self*

I'm just home form my first date with TG. We met for a drink at a new restaurant in town. I was so freakin' nervous I could hardly focus at work today. (I know, what am I, 16? But I didn't date at 16, so this could be part of the problem.)

I was excited/nervous to meet him because: he's tall, cute and local--but not local in a douchey way. See, here's an insider's tip about the NV: the NV attracts a lot of young guys who love the wine world with their whole ego. They love the lifestyle, they dream of wealth and fame, they love the wide-eyed women who are attracted to them because of the lifestyle and their closeness to wealth and fame … Yes, the NV is a hotbed of douchery.

But TG has lived here his whole life. He loves the outdoors. He feels bad about the guy who bought his house at the height of the housing market. He is not a douche--there's no pretense. He even drives a clunker because he and his brothers are working to rebuild the family business.

So on to the date itself: I think we were both nervous. So nervous that hopefully he doesn't remember anything stupid I may have said. Mainly I just remember those green eyes and bright smile. He reiterated what his profile said: that he's looking for a tall girl who lives here in the valley. TG is definitely values family and is looking for a partner--no one night stand guy here.

And the hug at the end (date kept to a wise one hour). You guys, this was the best hug I've ever experienced. For one thing, I was hugging a man far taller than me. (Remember, I'm 5'11"--he's over 6'6". I wore 3" heels.) For another, he squeezed me just perfectly--you know the kind of hug. I'm sure everyone around us were like, "Wow, look at that tall couple hugging." I don't care. It was awesome.

At our cars, he said he would love to take me to dinner sometime and asked me for my number. About 15 minutes after I got home, he texted to say again that it was good to meet me and that he would love to take me out for dinner soon. And, he said, I am even more beautiful in person. (This is lovely to hear--especially since I'm feeling particularly fat at the moment.)

I haven't texted back yet--I'm trying to play it coolish--but I will in a few moments. (screw "The Rules")  I think I tend to be a bit stand-offish so I think that wherever I can be "confidently warm" (as opposed to needy or some awful thing), it can't hurt. So I'll same something along the lines of definitely wanting to go out again and that that was the best hug ever. (Not weird, not needy--definitely encouraging, complimentary and a little flirty.)

Anyway, whew. After a lifetime of going on crappy first dates, it's nice to have one I'm excited about. Now the trick will be to keep my cool. I have the date with Mr. B Saturday and there's another guy from Oakland who wants to meet me. Between those guys, work and friends, there's plenty to keep me occupied.

Tuesday, June 18, 2013

Adventures in Dating

So far, my endeavor to date as many fabulous men as possible is going … slowly. Part of it is the cold, hard facts: I'm over 35. I'm 5'11". I'm not the fun, party girl that a good portion of the male population seems to be looking for. (Sorry guys, shoulda caught me 5 years ago.)

Right now I'm communicating with two guys. The first is Mr. Bartender. Mr. B works at a local restaurant that I predict will fold in 3 months. Last week I popped in right after work for a drink. I completely surprised him, and though I wasn't attracted to him, I was nervous and dorky. (At least that's my evaluation of events.) No matter: Mr. B has been very encouraging in his short messages to me. He invited me to lunch, and I suggested we meet in Y____ville, since that is closer to where I work. Well, guess what? He doesn't have a car.


Now, not having a car in San Francisco or Chicago or New York City is no big deal, but it's downright weird way out here in the country. My alarm bells are going off wildly because, if you remember, ex-fiance Mac was horrible with finances.

I'm meeting Mr. B for lunch here in N____ on Saturday. Why? Because I need to practice being my authentic self. I need practice dating, for Pete's sake. I think Mr. B is looking for a hookup and will drop me when he figures out that that's not my interest here.

But here's the one I'm interested in.

TallGuy is freakin' tall. Over 6'6" (I don't want to specify because of almighty Google). I've never gone out with a guy over 6'2"! TG wrote to me after I severely shortened my profile. I'd read in several places that we ladies need to keep our dating profiles short, light and sweet--that by including too many details we could unwittingly (1) appear cray-cray or (2) put up unintentional barriers. What the hell, thought I, highlighting my carefully crafted and often tweaked profile and deleting it with the press of a key.

My new profile says basically that I'm a chica living in the NV who likes to this, that and the other thing and I'm looking for a guy who can beat me at Scrabble. And then I parenthetically assure the reader that I'm joking. (A nice touch, I thought--a slight show of my nerdish hand and humor at the same time.)

Anyway, TG wrote me. And he was (is?) so complimentary and interested to meet me. I tried to play it cool--but not too cool. I showed interest (I hope) but not too much. In the past, I've made the mistake of sending these long emails. WHY? So I'm keeping them short and light and carefree. I don't even answer all the questions dudes send my way. Why should I? And if I do, what's left for the first date?

But I digress. I cannot wait to meet TG tomorrow. And, eff it, I'm wearing heels. Four-inchers. And even then, I'll be way shorter than him. I figure, who knows if I'll have this chance again? Girl, I'm taking it.

I'm also excited about meeting him because he's totally local to the NV--was raised here, even. His family owns a business and is prominent enough to Google to make sure he's a safe person to meet.

I need to remember several things:
1. I'm not ready for a full-blown relationship so easy does it
2. I really just know that this guy is tall, local and has two kiddos--no sense getting carried away. He could be as dumb as a sack of rocks.
3. Stay cool--keep the date breezy and 1.5 hours tops

I need to gather some other great guys to meet so I don't get too interested in this guy. But who knows? When we meet tomorrow I might be not at all attracted to him, despite his awesome, incredible, oh-so-sexy height.

We'll see.

Monday, May 27, 2013

Epiphany: I'm a Bad Dater

There are a few things that none of us wants to admit we're bad at--driving and sex are two biggies. On a walk this afternoon a realization hit me with a sickening thud: I am a terrible dater. And not just terrible, I'm a boring dater. Oh, god, what could be worse? I guess not realizing it would be worse.

Somehow I--moderately successful, attractive and intelligent--have gotten myself well into adulthood without understanding what it is to date--and date well. My typical MO is to find a guy I like, go out with him a few times (usually as few as 2 - 3 times) where we become exclusive and sleep together and then after a few months (3 is typical), I realize he's not the guy for me. I don't date around, which means there's a lot of pressure on me and this one guy to make something of the situation--either sex or exclusivity (usually both).

This is a recipe for disaster. More than that, it kills the enjoyment of getting to know someone--several someones--and making the best selection. (The whole sperm and egg scenario comes to mind. Natural selection exists for a reason!)

Why not create an environment where men can show me their best selves? Where I own my sexuality and share it when and with whom I choose? (instead of, oh the shame, having sex out of imagined obligation)

My excuse for focusing on one guy and one guy only in the past has been the area I live in. NV is tiny, true, but there's the East Bay to consider and Sonoma. And is San Francisco so very far?

I also haven't liked the idea of dating more than one guy at once. It seemed stressful and confusing, but I suspect now that the opposite is true.

So this is my new plan: to connect with as many guys as possible online and in everyday life and see what happens. I'm employing a close variation of the Four Man Plan--and so far, I've got only two quarter men, with nudges out to a few more on Match. Tonight I'll cultivate a few more.

Can this be done in the NV? Can this be done at thirty-{mumble}? We'll see.

Friday, May 24, 2013

Back in the Dating Saddle

So--let's skip past all the heartbreak. Basically, it all came to a head in late October/early November and I ended it. I immediately felt free, and have felt free since. Leaving Mac was hard, but it was the right decision--that's the stark truth of it.

Anyway, as I told Loverville a couple weeks ago (has it been that long already? time zips by these days): I joined Match. I blame Martha Stewart, because though she is of quite another generation, her joining Match put the idea in my head. Reader, I signed up.

So it's been two weeks, and so far it's been easier and more pleasant than any of my previous online dating experiences. Why? I just don't care--which, I suppose, defeats the purpose ever so slightly.

I've had a zillion guys view me--especially when I first signed up. I was low-hanging fruit and got tons of winks and one-liner chats/emails. My hair looks especially blonde in one of the photos, and I suspect this has something to do with it. (Also, c.f. "low-hanging fruit") That initial onslaught has fallen off significantly since I started. I haven't actively pursued (or, that is, emailed) anyone. I can't be bothered.

  • I indicated interest to one guy who responded with an email--but turned out to be as interesting as a stack of bricks. (To be fair, I think the feeling was mutual.) I didn't respond after the second exchange.
  • Another guy called me "sweetie" in his first email (which seemed very used car salesman to me, in the context) and I ignored him for a long while until he pinged me back. I emailed him, but I was bored, and he was bored--plus he called me sweetie again. I'm not going to bother.
  • One of my winks game from a guy who had the handle "TattsNBeard." Sure enough--scads of tattoos and a powerful beard. I, endeavoring to keep an open mind, read his profile to find an articulate guy--and then I saw the pic of the tear tattooed at the corner of his eye. So much for open-mindedness!
  • One guy favorite me, then winked at me, then--a few days later--sent me an email. I decided to go out with him.
We went out a couple weeks ago, and hit it off--hit it off in that we got along great and had an interesting first hour or so. See, I meant to keep the date to an hour, but we had two glasses of wine, and being in the wine country, it's not like you can nip into a cab and get safely home. We had to eat something, and so spent nearly 3.5 hours together, which just killed it. I don't even care, not a bit--but it is an odd phenomenon to get along with someone so well and then think to yourself, "Eh."

There have been other glancing tales to add to the above--mostly along the lines of the wistful older men wishing that my age range didn't end at 44. (I've been dating men who are 10+ years older than me for the last 6 years. I feel I need to dial that back a bit--not that I wouldn't date an older man again.)

I got a promising email a couple of days ago from a guy who shares one of my life-long interests: writing. In his pictures, he looks moody and overly intellectual. (So many guys make this mistake--shadowy, serious pictures, which I imagine they think makes them look sexy, when in reality it makes them look like criminals.) But his profile is interesting, and I'm keen on making contacts in this sphere, even if Twu Wuve isn't the end result. (Can you tell I have a thing for Princess Bride?) I think we're getting together Monday.

And tonight I met a guy in real life--such a rare thing. He was a bartender at a restaurant and took a shine to me the moment I landed. I know … bartenders! He gave me his card on the ruse of trading wine--he's starting a full-time job at a winery in the next couple of weeks (so no more bar tending). I checked out the wineries he works for--and it'll have to be 3-4 bottles of his wine to one of mine, but … I don't think this is really about wine.

I'm not exactly sure what the next step is. I guess I text him? I kind of just want to do it now, and not wait out some silly time period. Because, honestly, I'm over The Game. And odds are this one won't be Twu Wuve either.

And I'm fine with it. If I could be in my 30s forever, I think I would be perfectly happy with the occasional romance and an independent life. But I'll age, and I'm thinking that there's a comfort to companionship later in life. (More and more, though, I find that I crave a relationship that allows for two whole individuals--none of this melding stuff. More on this later--in 10 years, I'll probably have an entirely different view.)

Sunday, May 5, 2013

Discussions and Repercussions

Something happened yesterday that is a perfect introduction into all the lovely discussions Mac and I had over the months of our relationship.

(Brief recap for anyone just joining in on the fun: despite my misgivings, I agreed to marry my boyfriend Mac last March--we subsequently broke up, and in a few posts I'm hashing it all out, with the idea that I'll learn from my mistakes, never to repeat them again. Amen.)

Midday yesterday I got a text from Mac. We have been in touch now and then since our breakup in early November--usually he's trying to win me back by declaring his love. More thoughtfully, he sent his condolences on the passing of a close relative a few weeks ago.

Yesterday, he texted me to find out if I was going to an art opening that night--because he wanted to avoid me. Ugh. Seven months post breakup, I feel this is crazy. It's true, the NV is small and one is liable to bump into all sorts of people, and our mutual friend owns this gallery … but it's been 6 months. I think we need to be mature enough to live and let live.

I responded with, "No, but Mac, this is ridiculous!" I was proud of my calling a turd a turd.

This inspired quite an exchange. And, of course, text is no place to argue. (But it also so happens that Mac doesn't listen in face-to-face "discussions," either--at least this way he can go back and read our thread, if he's so inclined.)

The issues we hashed out over text were the same ones we fought over in person, though Mac did apologize for telling me way back when that I "worried too much." (And it was more than that, folks. He actually very forcefully said--over and over--that I needed to be medicated for anxiety! I could have left him on that score alone. Not, mind you, that I have any problem with mediation--I just wasn't clinically anxious.)

The issues:

  • He loved me. Couldn't I see that?! Apparently I need to remind him that I do not love him--I've done so before, but didn't bother yesterday. I only said that I thought he loved a version of me that doesn't exist. (Arguing in this way serves no purpose, I realize.)
  • I need to have some faith in him! In the course of two years he didn't retain a part-time job, knowing what was at stake--i.e. our relationship; he didn't complete his bankruptcy proceedings (that's a whole other issue). I'm not so blind that I can't see writing on the wall.
  • He wasn't going to let me be poor! This was a strange red herring, since, though I'm not anywhere near rich, I was definitely the money bags in this relationship. I don't know how he was "not going to let me be poor" since he had too much pride to get even the most humble of jobs. 
  • [this from me] He stated once that he was attracted to successful women. "What if I'm attracted to successful men?" "You got me there," was his response. {History shows that I'm not attracted to successful men, however--at least in the short term. Gotta change that because the starving artist thing is not working.}
This was all "discussed" over the course of an hour. It was kind of ugly, but I didn't care--we had argued these points before, and at least with text, Mac didn't get on a wild streak and talk and talk and talk so I could not get a word in edgewise. 

In the end, he sent me a picture of a new artist's studio he's rented, and said, "Bye." I bet he's been dying to do that for weeks! My guess is his family is paying for it. 

I want him to be successful, but his success won't make me attracted to him again.

Anyway, these are the things we talked about over and over, from our engagement in Marge 2012 to our eventual breakup in November 2012. I was too kind. I expected him to understand things about me that he wouldn't--because he wanted me so much that he refused to see that we were not right for each other.